DHS project helps Md. firefighters test next-generation breathing apparatusThe IAFF, under contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, designed the new SCBA
By Homeland1 Staff
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The next generation of SCBA was field tested by firefighters in Maryland on Tuesday.
Four Prince George's County firefighters went through several evolutions as part of the testing process, wearing current SCBA followed by the new prototype.
Rigorous field tests will also be carried by firefighters and law enforcement officers from surrounding municipalities, including Washington, D.C., Fairfax County and Montgomery County.
The IAFF, under contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, designed the new SCBA, and global safety equipment manufacturer MSA was selected to build a prototype.
"These important field tests give us the information we need to ensure that this cutting-edge technology is safe, reliable and ready to be deployed," IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger said.
"This is one of the most significant health and safety projects the IAFF has ever undertaken, and this new SCBA technology will improve the safety of firefighters on the frontlines."
The next-generation SCBA prototype will rely on pressure-vessel technology, which promises to make firefighting breathing apparatuses smaller, lighter and more efficient than SCBA currently in use.
It uses a special high-temperature lining in place of conventional aluminum liners used in current SCBA cylinders. These linings are then braided with Kevlar and wound with pre-impregnated carbon fiber. The entire array is inside a soft, flexible cover, allowing the design to flex horizontally and vertically at the connection points.
The IAFF received more than $2.7 million from the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to fund the research and development of the new SCBA.